Taiwan warns of growing threats from China
TAIPEITaiwan’s defense minister warned Dec. 27 that enemy threats were growing daily after China’s aircraft carrier and a flotilla of other warships passed south of the island in an exercise as tensions rise.
After sailing south of Taiwan itself, the Liaoning and five other warships on Dec. 26 passed the Taiwan-administered Dongsha Islands in the South China Sea also claimed by Beijing, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry.
The naval drills are seen as a show of strength by Beijing as its relations worsen with Taiwan and the United States, following a protocol-breaking telephone conversation between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
Chinese media had earlier reported that the carrier was headed for the Pacific on exercise for the first time along with its escort ships.
It was the latest in a series of recent exercises staged by China, after its military aircraft passed near Taiwan on Dec. 10 for the second time in less than a month.
Taiwan’s Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan said Dec. 27, during a promotion ceremony for generals, that threats from the enemy were growing daily.
“I ask for strict training... We train the soldiers so they can not only survive the war but also destroy the enemies and accomplish their missions,” he said, without referring to China by name.
“The threat from our enemy is increasing day by day. We need to maintain combat vigilance at any time. This is my expectation of you all.”
Feng confirmed that Taiwan sent RF-16 reconnaissance aircraft to monitor the Chinese warships.